Safety • What to look for in a VHF

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What to look for in a VHF

Postby Scott » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:05 pm

Guys, i have never used a VHF in the yak before, always relying on my PLB if i ever got into trouble. With the new AI i plan to dent the horizon and as such realise the need for a VHF. What features should i be looking for or is there any outstanding models i should look at?
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby TheFishinMusician » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:32 pm

eric wrote:Just went back and checked a trip report.

One thing that did crop up as an issue on the Cobras most of the Moe blokes have is that when water gets on the speaker, it makes them inaudible. The trip to Snake Island back in April it was bit of a problem as I couldn't see TFM (water was kinda up a bit) and he wasn't answering his radio, so I had no idea if he had landed or was halfway to New Zealand. Simply shaking the radio is the fix, but it's worth noting.


Yep, & if you look in the specs of some radios there is a "burp" feature that gives the speaker a good shake to get the water out, which when i bought my first radio I thought sounded like unnecessary levels of bullshizzle, but I now know might be handy. But yeah, tipping it upside down and giving it a good shake & a few pats on the bum works too.
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby Marty75 » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:39 pm

I believe some of the newer ones come with Bluetooth (albeit at cost of battery power) allowing you to answer your mobile phone via the radio which could come in handy.

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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby Scott » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:09 pm

Thanks guys you have given me a few to look at, what is the reception range on these radios?
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby ArWeTherYet » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:34 pm

Warranty! Most thing electronic that gets wet will fail eventually, so always check before you leave and get something with a good long warranty.

Distance, you can hear them, they cant hear you so well. I could just get VMR to hear me from my roof top about 8kms away. On a good day on the water with nothing in the way I'd estimate about 10kms to a VMR, less for a boat and even less to another hand held.
There best application is to communicate to someone in close range and to listen to the weather up dates. Keep your PLB and a couple of flairs and sometimes mobile phone can get better reception.
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby kayakone » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:42 pm

eric wrote:Just went back and checked a trip report.

The trip to Snake Island back in April it was bit of a problem as I couldn't see TFM (water was kinda up a bit).....



Up a bit?? :shock: :shock:




A bit above 2 metres is more like it :lol:

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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby Scott » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:51 pm

BigGee wrote:Important thing to note that one of Mingle's and AWTY's, Scott.

Practically every transceiver will receive much further away than what it will transmit. Certainly. An error many fall into is thinking because you hear someone does not mean they will hear you when you transmit.

Monitoring stations that I provide and instruct for, can "sometimes" hear VHF stations many hundreds of kilometres away, in some cases even UHF, but the actual planning range of the transmitter is only a number of single digit kilometers.

Just something to remember.

Gee


So in an emergency situation similar to say what Trev had at fish rock, what do you do if you are 10 kms down the coast and 10kms out to sea and there are not any boats around to relay a message? Often there will not be any land any further south of me to pull in to and i am not in enough distress to activate my PLB.
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby ArWeTherYet » Thu Sep 27, 2012 6:50 pm

You could get a long aerial and a extension cord and hold it above your head to get a better reception. You'd even be able to stand up on the AI.
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby kayakone » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:29 pm

Scott

Been following this with interest. You are certainly more remote than much of mainland Australia, but you should take comfort from this map...

http://www.mast.tas.gov.au/domino/mast/ ... enDocument

IMO a VHF is invaluable. It provides Sécurité warnings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Securite
It allows you to check current weather. This is very important in your region, where a lot of fronts sweep through Tasmanian waters with regular frequency. Last night's forecast is no longer important ...your concerns are what is actually happening now, or about to happen.

My recommendations are:

1. contribute an annual fee to the local VMR/Coastguard, so they know who you are.

2. always log on with a paddle/sail plan (you are on their 'watch', and if you do not respond by the expected return time, they will activate a search). Do not forget to cancel the 'watch' when you are safe.

3. use it if your VHF if have any concerns, and don't be frightened of it. VMR/Coastguard are trained volunteers whose sole purpose is your safety.

4. see if they have 'DSC' capability = Digital select calling. This means an emergency call from you gives them instant ID of you and your craft, including it's colour, and if your VHF has GPS, the position. (there is a DSC button on some VHF transmitters).

5. for the above reason look at a Standard Horizon HX 851 (not many VHF's have this capability).

6. do the course Marine Radio Operators VHF Operators Certificate of Proficiciency (MROVCP). Many VMR/Coastguard stations run courses. It gives you the correct language and protocols. It provides clear communication principles. Very worthwhile if the poop is hitting the revolving device.

7. finally, it helps you talk about the situation to people who understand, and may save you activating the PLB/EPIRB, in which case a rescue is extremely expensive (about $ 5,000/hr if helicopters are involved).


hope this helps

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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby Dodge » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:33 pm

Scott when I was using VHF on my old bay cruiser we could double our normal signal range by using a local repeater channel like Trev has mentioned in his comments.

In regard to operators certificate personally know far more who have not done the course, but all observe the correct protocols of using.
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby Scott » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:40 am

Thanks guys, the two areas i intend fishing South of Cape Raoul and out from South East Cape are covered by two recievers which is piece of mind for me. I will take your advice and contact the local Volunteer Coastguard for recommendations.
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby Scott » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:11 am

Thanks again guys. i have just made contact with the Hobart Coast Guard Radio. They advised me it is not worth doing a course. I am better to join their organisation (only $40 a year) and attend a new members night coming up shortly. Apparently i will know everything i need to know at the end of the night inclduing what to buy, and how best to use it.
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Re: What to look for in a VHF

Postby antsrealm » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:46 am

Has anyone fitted a fixed mount VHF to there kayak. I already have a lowrance handheld but for the sake of longer battery life and range I have been thinking about buying a 25watt GME it's IP67 waterproof and powering of the larger battery in my hull. That way I don't have to worry about battery power / range and would feel a lot more comfortable knowing I have 5 times more TX power to get a distress call a lot further then my handheld with mediocre battery power.

What's the thoughts on that ?? I assume there is some reason no one is doing this. We've all got sounders hard-wired in so why not a VHF as well ?

Cheers,
Tony.
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